Reclaiming Ohi:yo'- Restoring the Altered Landscape of the Beautiful River Main MenuWelcomingFront page for this Digital Exhibit.The Seneca Nation of IndiansWe call ourselves Onödowá'ga:' (oh-non-doh-wah!-gawh!), which means "People of the Great Hill". We are one of six other nations that collectively call ourselves Hodinöhsö:ní (hoh-dee-nonh-sonh-neeh!), meaning "People of the Longhouse".Ohi:yo'Ohi:yo', our Beautiful River, has always been our home and source of nourishment.The Kinzua Dam ProjectOur elders fought for our land and sovereignty in the 1950s and 1960s. They fought to stop the construction of Kinzua Dam.The Allegheny ReservoirThe reservoir has altered the landscape, ecosystem, and our interactions with Ohi:yo.The Allegheny Reservoir: A Visual Depiction of Water LevelsAt times of water storage the water depth of the river channel is approximately 26 feet, with as little as 6 to 8 feet of water during the winter months.The Significance of Kinzua to our Seneca PeopleThe U.S. Army Corps of EngineersThe U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in collaboration with the U.S. federal government built Kinzua Dam between 1960 and 1965.Kinzua Era TimelinesThis page provides two different temporal representations of the Kinzua Era (1956-1966).Kinzua Dam's Environmental ImpactsThe creation of Kinzua Dam has had lasting environmental impacts on our land and water. Learn more here.Ohi:yo' Restoration and Resiliency ProjectsMembers of the Seneca Nation's Watershed Resources Working Group are involved in various restoration and resiliency projects for our Ohi:yo'. The Seneca Nation's Fish and Wildlife Department in particular engages in projects related to building artificial habitat, repopulating our river's Walleye population, and building trenches to help land locked fish.Seneca Nation Fish and Wildlife DepartmentThe Nation's Fish and Wildlife Department engages in restoration and resiliency projects related to Ohi:yo'.Fighting for the Water: Fracking Wastewater in Ohi:yo'In 2016 the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) began deliberating a 1,000-barrel/day of unconventional gas drilling wastewater (Frack Wastewater) disposal facility in Potter County proposed by Epiphany Allegheny LLC. In response to the news of these fracking plans, our Seneca people again fought for our people, our communities, and our Ohi:yo'.A Legacy of ResilienceWe will continue on.Access and Use RightsFor our full statement on rights and use of our exhibit contents see this page.Additional ResourcesThis page contains additional resources that can provide more in-depth information that is perhaps not included within our exhibit.About this ExhibitThis page contains information about our intra-Nation departmental collaborations and exhibit acknowledgements.The Seneca-Iroquois National Museum663b8929f7a99e6bad2d94d8e2c4f4c0dbfcfc0fDana Reijerkerk3c44fb85ab096c2290175e81dd4f16f0002a41e0This exhibit was published by the Seneca-Iroquois National Museum, 2018.
12018-08-19T13:56:22-07:00Dana Reijerkerk3c44fb85ab096c2290175e81dd4f16f0002a41e0308612plain2018-08-20T18:01:12-07:00Dana Reijerkerk3c44fb85ab096c2290175e81dd4f16f0002a41e0Ohi:yo' runs through two territories of our Seneca people: the Cornplanter Grant and the Allegany Territory belonging to the Seneca Nation of Indians.
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1media/85.1003.0114.jpg2018-07-12T17:20:46-07:00The Allegheny Reservoir26The reservoir has altered the landscape, ecosystem, and our interactions with Ohi:yo.image_header7770592018-08-24T15:46:26-07:00The Allegheny Reservoir is the water reserves from the Kinzua Dam blocking Ohi:yo. It is one of the largest reservoirs in the U.S. and covers a third of our land on our Allegany Territory.
The reservoir fluctuates on a seasonal basis. During summer, water covers our land that we have used for generations. In fall, much of the water reserves are lowered at the discretion of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
As the reservoir is gradually brought down to winter pool elevation it leaves behind vast tracts of land. The mudflats that are left behind are a reminder of the land that was lost and show the continued impacts, such as erosion and sedimentation.
At times of water storage the water depth of the river channel is approximately 26 feet, with as little as 6 to 8 feet of water during the winter months.
The seasonal lowering and emptying of the water reserves within the reservoir leave our inundated land exposed and unprotected to weather elements for part of the year. This annual exposure makes it difficult for natural vegetation to grow, which acts as a barrier to erosion caused in part by the frequent water-level fluctuations. Our native plants that grow along Ohi:yo' are also culturally important. Some plant species, such as sassafras, are used by our Seneca people for medicinal purposes.
Significant loss of our river's banks has been observed since the creation of the reservoir, which is likely a result of the frequent water level fluctuations, stream direction and velocities, wave action, and geological conditions.
In addition, the emptying of the reservoir in fall creates areas of landlocked water that trap fish, leading to mass fish kills. Our Seneca people living on the Seneca Nation's Allegany Territory were not the only Seneca people directly affected by building Kinzua. The Cornplanter Grant located in Pennsylvania was also inundated, leaving Chief Cornplanter's heirs without their communities, their homes, and their land.